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Hitchin Town 2 Chippenham Town 1

Saturday, March 21 2009

Just how important this result will be to Hitchinís season remains to be seen, but there is every indication that this may be the Canaries most vital win so far in 2008-09.

Chippenham may be a play-off contender, but Hitchin made them look very ordinary. In fact, Colin Payneís men were rarely troubled by their opponents, despite going a goal down early down.

Hitchin v Chippenham, Photo by Richard ChappellFor the first time in weeks, there is a light at the end of a very long tunnel and Hitchin fans are starting to believe they can avoid relegation. But before that can happen, more results like this are needed.

When Chippenham took a 12th minute lead, however, it looked to be a familiar tale for Hitchin. A free kick from Kye Holly was headed on by David Pratt and the ball fell to Luke Gullick who passed back into the area for Shaun Lamb to score.

Hitchin equalised in the 29th minute, however, and it was thanks to a link-up between Payneís new signing, Richard Shittu and crowd favourite Jeff Hammond. Shittu, who was signed on Thursday from Halesowen, robbed Lamb of the ball and found the ever-eager Hammond on the run. Hammondís first shot was blocked by Chris Snoddy and he reacted quickly to shoot just inside the post from the rebound.

Almost on the stroke of half-time, Hitchin went ahead when Jon Munday - captain for the day - headed home from a corner.

It was a scrappy start to the second half,with both Hammond and Shittu suffering injuries, but Chippenham failed to settle with a blunt-instrument of an attack. The best they could offer was a volley over the bar by Gullick.

The Hitchin midfield, which has often struggled to find the right blend this season, had a combative 90 minutes, with Carl Williams and Derwayne Stupple beavering away like a pair of pocket battleships. The game, as a result, became bogged down in the middle of the park for long periods and goalscoring chances were rare in the second period.

Hitchin did have two late opportunities from Ieaun Lewis to wrap things up. Firstly, he saw a shot beaten away by Snoddy and then three minutes from the end, Liam George rolled the ball across the face of goal, only for the young Welshman to shoot into the side-netting.

Hitchin Town (2)2 Chippenham Town (1)1

Hitchin: Bennett, Munday, Pepper, McDevitt, Thorne, Williams, Lewis, Stupple, Hammond (Olima 85), Shittu (M.Barnes 87), Boateng (George 71)

Scorers: Hammond 29, Munday 45

Chippenham: Snoddy, Adams, Lamb, Williams, Casey, Allison, Lye, Holly, Pratt (Sercombe78), Seavill, Gullick (Arnold 71, Halliday 83)

Scorer: Lamb 12

Attendance: 309

Referee: C. Knowles

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